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The Downside To Low Oil Prices

Graph of Crude oil price March 21 2017
Is There A Downside To Low Oil Prices?

Four years ago, a barrel of crude oil cost over $100. Today’s closing price was $48.04.While the lower price at the pumps seems great to consumers, lower crude oil prices result in an environmental cost: More plastic is produced and less in recycled because manufacturers can buy new plastic for less than the cost of recycled products. This has a big impact on the recycling industry. In fact, one of the largest waste and recycling companies in the US, Waste Management, shut down 20 of its recycling facilities in 2015 and 2016 to cut its costs.

Should manufacturers stop recycling if it’s currently more cost effective to purchase new over recycled plastic? Should we all stop bothering to sort our empty bottles?

Absolutely not.

• First of all, oil prices will not remain low forever.
• Secondly, just because the resources for new plastic products are available, should the industry abandon recycled products? Consumers like paying the lowest price but the movement to purchase recycled products and containers by consumers continues to grow.
• Why stop promoting the idea of conserving our resources? We should be investing in the future of our planet.